Babies Should Be Banned From Flying First Class

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baby on airplaneIn response to numerous complaints from first-class passengers about screaming babies on airplanes, Malaysia Airlines has announced that it is extending its ban on babies flying in the first class cabin. The airline already had a ban in place on Boeing 747-400 jets; now it plans to do the same on its Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

Now, I know what you're thinking: That this policy is ballsy, harsh, reprehensible, and completely discriminatory ... and it's probably all of those things. But I also think it's brilliant. Here's why:

Just because your children are well-behaved and love to fly doesn't mean there aren't other parents who can't handle their children during flight. As a passenger -- usually in the economy section -- I've come to accept that screaming babies are part and parcel of flying on an airplane. I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't get upset about it. Sometimes I even ask if I can help. There's nothing you can really do -- save putting on some headphones and zoning off to your happy place.

But why should people who shell out big money to fly in comfort in first class have to tolerate such a thing? Many of the people in first class are there because they want/need to sleep on the flight. And it's nearly impossible to sleep when a baby is squalling next to you -- I don't care how sound-proof your headphones claim to be!

Here's the thing: Not every product, service, experience, etc. has to be family-friendly or even vice versa. Malaysia Airlines -- and any other airline that adopts a similar infant ban -- seems to be targeting a specific consumer: the childless passenger who will pay a lot of money to fly in comfort and quiet. If that's how they think they can make a profit, then they have every right to institute a baby ban.

But that also means a passenger looking for a more laid-back, family-friendly experience may feel alienated by this policy. Likely, they'll be looking to take their business elsewhere. And that might not be such a bad thing.

 

Image via Cesar Rincon/Flickr

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surfg... surfgrl60

Kids under 5 shouldnt be able to fly! I am sick and tired of every flight I get on there are alot of small kids kicking, screaming, throwing things and the parents dont do ANYTHING! The parents need to have common sence and know that their kids with cause a scene. If they need to travel that bad drive. I dont care if its 2,000 miles. I paid for my airline ticket. Not to listen to a screaming kid! I have 3 kids 4 and under and WOULD NEVER take ANY of them on a plane yet! I have MORE RESPECT for people then that. Because I know how horrible it is to be around it.

kelli... kelli0585

As a mother of a toddler, I have no qualms over this whatsoever. 


First class isn't just for the rich, better-than-thou people.  My younger brother had a stem cell transplant in Indianapolis and a major surgery in New York for his cancer.  All followed by high dose chemotherapy.  Being in Texas, he had no choice but to fly.  Because of this fragile state (high altitude was already taxing on him), rest and comfort was of the upmost importance.  He had to fly first class to stretch his legs.  I'm sure a crying infant would not have been condusive to his comfort level.  Not that he would have complained, but still.


 

kelli... kelli0585

I do disagree with the first comment.  You can't prevent children from travelling.  They have places to go just as well. 


But if you spend extra on a first class ticket, you are also spending extra for comfort.  They should be entitled to that.  No problems keeping the babies in business or economy.

Mahala Dixson

I can see where the air line is coming from.  And I'll admit I've never flown with my children, nor do I plan to because I do not think my twin sons would handle it well (My daughter would love it but my sons would get cranky and cry and blah blah blah be those "annoying" children on the plane and I would feel AWFUL and one of my twins would probably get us kicked of the plane for his tantrums, they are 2).  However, some families probaby pay good money for first class hoping it will give them enough room to be able to keep their child calm and comfortable.  And I can certainly understand the parents thought there.  However...we can't control when a child is going to have a tantrum, and I can see how a kid would have a melt down on a plane (new place, new feelings, new people it could be scary for a kiddo) you can try to minimize but you can't prevent melt downs.  So in this case I can see both points.  LOL Maybe they just need to make some flights that are JUST for families? Family Friendly air!

evwsq... evwsquared

Well, the majority of people who are flying first class don't actually buy a first-class ticket. They're frequent fliers who got bumped up automatically. This is one of the ways that airlines gain the loyalty of their costumers: they have a tiered frequent flier program, with different "perks" for different levels. The first level gets you in the exit row seats. The next gets you bumped up to first class. The highest gets you and your companion bumped up to first class. One a recent business flight I took, one of my colleagues commented that the wait list for frequent fliers to be bumped up to first had at least 50 people on it. The people who did buy tickets to fly first class usually don't do so with their own money, either: they're flying for business so their company is paying.


I've flown first class with my baby, and it was awesome, because when she slept in my arms, I had ROOM for her to spread out. We also got food, whereas you're only getting pretzels in the back (and not even that on some airlines these days).

Courtney Paige Neale

I agree with the author. If someone pays that much for a seat, they should be able to fly in peace in it.

Cacho... Cachorritos

Well, it is a business after all. They're free to add exclusivity as they see fit in order to target the demographic that they want. I can't help but wonder if they'll also add a ban on annoying drunk fliers in first class, too? ;o)

surfg... surfgrl60

If they really have " places to go " their parents can drive. We are going on vacation soon. I refuse to take my kids on a plane. I am being " kind " by not taking my small kids on a plane ride. I remember going to CA and it was about 2 hrs to get there. There was a younger mom with 2 small kids. I leaned over to my husband and said I hope to god we are not near her. Well, She was RIGHT behind us! She kept changing her screaming baby on the tray, the toddler kept poking at me through the side and kicking my seat. She just sat there the WHOLE 2 hours! Yet I am supost to smile and think that thats ok? NO! On 1 flight there was a 40 year old lady with pink hair 9 months pregnant behind me. She was telling her friend that how she is able to fly is SOCIAL SECURITY! She talked about how much they blew in Vegas. WOW! I hate roadtrips more then just about anything but I almost prefer it so I dont have to hear/deal with anybodys BS. Or their kids! In LAX one of the busiest airports there was a mom and 4 young kids. We were waiting for our flight near by, she had her computer playing a dvd and left them for over an hour. ALONE IN LAX. Oldest was around 5? It scares the hell out of me what type of parents are out there! How can THOSE type of people have the money to fly? Let alone hold a job?! I used to think flying was kind of a luxury. I am sadly mistaken. I have traveld alot in my life so far. EVERY DAMN flight more then half are trailor trash people.

Ursul... Ursula187

As a frequent flyer myself, I think that having "child-free" zones on an airplane is a great idea.  I have traveled with my daughter (now 18 months) since she was a bitty baby, simply because my family lives a significant distance from where I live.  When I travel with her, I make every effort to keep her quiet and entertained, (books, snacks, etc.), though she is a toddler, so she is sometimes unpredictable.  That said, I have also traveled quite a bit without my daughter, and when I've paid for first class, it is usually so that I can work on the plane.  It would be helpful to not have a screaming baby sitting next to me when I do fly first class.

Cafe Kim Cafe Kim

Cachorritos -- totally agree about the drunk people. So annoying! :)

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